Camino Awakenings

Camino Awakenings by Liz Jester

Camino Awakenings – a Poem by Liz Jester

Strolling through one of my favorite Facebook groups, CAMIGAS ~ A Buddy System for Women on the Camino, I came across a post by Liz Jester.
She wrote a poem as she sat in front of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. She had just made it to Santiago a couple of days earlier and felt inspired by many of the lovely characters she met along The Way. She hoped someone would enjoy the poem… Oh my, did the readers enjoy – it brought tears to our eyes… Searching for a title for this post made me think about the essence of this poem. I only hope she can approve of my choice: Camino Awakenings.

I am happy she was okay with the idea to share it here at our Camino Comfort blog. Thank you Liz!

Whether you are still planning your Camino to Santiago or have done it multiple times, this poem will move you in so many ways… Buen Camino…

Camino Awakenings

A man has come to mourn his wife
Another to mourn his mother
A woman seeking balance
With the other half, her brothers

A heartbroken teen begins walking
With hope in his innocent eyes
Five former sailors, once lost at sea
Seeking truth in an ocean of lies

A beautiful woman with peace in her heart
And yet somehow a yearning for more
A young man who knows not quite why he is here
A woman who’s seeking the Lord

A daughter-and-sister-and-partner
Who has always been told how to live
Has a sudden desire to hear her heart tell her
What genuine gifts she can give

A family-less girl, almost woman
With burdens that weigh on her back
She has no idea how to drop them
Or to fill in her spaces of lack

They all come with hearts full of questions
And the hopes they will learn something new
Of this strange inexplicable mystery
That moves through us all, me and you

They wake with the sun every morning
With the roosters and fresh morning dew
They put on their boots, don their jackets
Trodding through fields of green, skies of blue

In rain or in shine they continue
Inexplicably following a call
From deep in their beings that tells them
There is more to this life, to it all

The path can’t miraculously tell them
All the answers they desperately seek
But something inside them, it softens
Step by step, day by day, week by week

And as each of their paths crosses others
Songs are sung, tears are shed, stories shared
They begin to discover connections
In togetherness, they aren’t quite so scared

And those answers those pilgrims came seeking
Begin taking less space in their minds
For they slowly discover that answers
Are not the best things they can find

For no one is truly alone
No matter how lonely it seems
And no one will ever have it all figured out
We are all just mere humans with dreams

So all we can do is continue
Rain or shine, hot or cold, right or wrong
And be here in this singular moment
Whether crying or scared or in song

We all came here lost in our own ways
Yet we’ve realized perhaps it’s ok
For nobody has the right answer
It is us, only us, who can say

How our lives will unfold, how we’ll handle
The rain and the shine and the snow
And though sometimes we’ll find yellow arrows
In the end WE must choose where to go

Whether he will accept his deep grieving
Whether she will forgive their mistakes
Whether they will set down all their burdens 
Is a choice that each one has to make

As they finish their journeys in earnest
One by one, giving hugs, boarding trains
Saying tearful goodbyes, finding closure
They all know that more journey remains

As each pilgrim returns to her corner
Of this world, so vast and so great
While they all still have hearts full of questions
They each leave, just a bit, more awake.


If you were moved by her poem, please leave her a comment below. What is (or was) your reason for walking the way? What Camino Awakenings did the Camino provide you with?

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7 Responses

  1. Liz
    Beautiful poem! It was a pleasure to get to know you as my wife and I walked our Camino. As you said, even in the rain and mud and when we lost the yellow arrows for a bit. The Camino has so many faces and effects all of us diffently but one thing is constant. Our lives are forever changed by the Camino.

  2. Liz You are an inspiring young woman … I love this poem … I was discussing with a friend today that it is a difficult thing to express what the Camino means and how it moves us on every level of our beings however I will now show him this poem as it expresses so well the complexity of ” The Way” much love to you ???

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I am on the camino now with my best friend (also liz) . We send you love and feel yours as we walk. Buen Camino is a term to use for a lifetime.. even after the walking has been completed.

  4. I reach Santiago tomorrow! And I found your poem while looking up Blisters!!!! Of all the thing, but that is the Camino ,I sat in the sun today thinking of all the words I could use to speak about this wonderful time I have spent. And you use so many.
    I loved your words hoping to be able to write something too myself. I hate this saying that so many use now it’s been like an emotional roller coaster but that’s a little how it feels for me right now.
    I was looking up blisters as I have only 1 and didn’t realise what it was like until I saw it closely as I was lazing in a wonderful bath!!! Even the blister wasn’t felt as was too busy savouring every moment.
    Thankyou for the chance to say a few words. Great poem with your observations.
    Love to you and all of you walking and will be in the future xxx Brenda

  5. Liza, this time last year I did the camino the first time.
    I am inspired by your literary piece…I feel that the words are really coming straight from your heart.

    i am from the Philippines, by the way.

  6. I love this poem. I’m in the early stages of planning my camino…I’m going to print the poem and stick it on my fridge for inspiration.

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